J'ai traduit récemment ces pages du livre de Rancière pour une connaissance, passage qui résume de manière assez condensée un certain nombre de ses positions centrales. De manière intéressante, il semble que ces deux paragraphes (pp. 83-85 de l'édition française) ne se retrouvent pas dans la version anglaise. Ce peut donc intéresser le lecteur de passage. 

 

"The politics of art cannot adjust their paradoxes to the form of an intervention outside of art’s own boundaries, in the « real world ». There is no real world, that would exist outside of art. There are only folds and counter-folds of our common sensitive fabric, in which the politics of aesthetics and the aesthetics of politics come together, and break apart. There is no real in-itself, but only configurations of what is given to us as our real, as the object of our perceptions, of our thoughts and our interventions. The real is always the object of some fiction, that is to say, of a construction of a space where the visible, the speakable and the doable get tied together. It is only the dominant fiction, the consensual fiction, that denies its fictional character and tries to pass off as the real itself, by tracing a clear line of separation between the domain of the real and the domain of  representations and appearances, of opinions and utopias. Artistic fiction, as well as political action, break into that real, they fracture it and multiply it, in a polemical fashion. The working of politics, which invents new subjects,  introduces new objects and a new perception of the common given, is also a fictional work. Therefore the relation of art to politics is not a shift from fiction to reality, but a relation between two ways of producing fictions. The practices of art are not instruments that produce forms of conscience or motivating energies in the service of a politics that would subsist externally to them. But they do not break out of themselves to become forms of collective political actions, either. They contribute to the shaping of a new landscape of what is visible, speakable, and doable. They forge, against consensus, other forms of « common sense », forms of a polemical common sense.

The turning inward  of the critical formula, then, does not cede the stage to the bare alternative of disenchanted parody and activist auto-demonstration. The fading away of certitudes leaves open a space for a multitude of dissensual forms : the ones that hold onto that which, in the so-called torrent of images, remains invisible ; the ones that put into action, through forms never before seen, the abilities to represent, to speak and to act, that belong to all ; the ones that move the lines of separation between the regimes of sensible presentation ; the ones that reexamine, and put back into fiction, the politics of art. There is place for a multiplicity of forms of critical art, in another sense. In its original sense, « critique » means : which concerns separation, discrimination. Critical is the art that shifts the lines of separation, that puts separation within the consensual fabric of the real, and, for the same reason, blurs the lines of separation that configure the consensual field of the given, such as the line separating the documentary from the fiction : a distinction of genres that readily separates two kinds of humanity,  one which suffers and, one which acts, one which is object and one which is subject. Fiction is for the Israelis and documentary for the Palestinians, as Godard ironically said. It is precisely this line, that a number of Palestinian and Lebanese —but Israeli also — documentarists blur, when they borrow, to deal with the urgency of occupation and war, fictional forms from various  genres, both popular and high-brow, or create fake archives. One can call critical the fictions that put into question the lines of separation between regimes of expression, as well as performances that reverse the cycle of degradation engineered by victimization by manifesting the abilities to speak and play that belong to those that are rejected to the « passive » margins of a society. But the critical work, the work on the separation, is also the one which refuses to anticipate its own effect, and takes into account the aesthetic separation through which this effect is produced. It is, in the end, a work which, instead of wanting to eradicate the passivity of the spectator, reexamines his activity."